For Valentine’s Day: A love story to last a lifetime

Clare Gerow and Mary Jane Gillett were side by side in the 1951 University of Detroit Tower yearbook.
Clare Gerow and Mary Jane Gillett were side by side in the 1951 University of Detroit Tower yearbook.

Though they don’t always tell us why they give to University of Detroit Mercy, donors have their reasons. We love when donors share their stories, like Mary Jane Gerow did in a letter that came with a recent gift.

I am sending this donation to the University in remembrance of my husband, Clare William Gerow, who died Sept. 30, 2018.

I met Clare as a partner in a physics class with another partner. I was not very knowledgeable, but they put up with me. I observed Clare that year and saw what a kind person he was. He asked me for a date late in the summer. Then, just before school started in September, my father died. I knew then that I couldn’t return to school and would not see Clare again.

As shy as I was, I called Father Joseph Foley, S.J. He was a student counselor and I knew him because he

Mary Jane and Clare Gerow met in Physics class and were later married.
Mary Jane and Clare Gerow met in Physics class and were later married.

allowed students to gather in his outer office when we had no classes and nowhere else to go. He even supplied chairs and small tables. I asked him if I could go for my senior year and pay later, when I would be working.

He called back in a day or so and said I could come to school and I would not owe anything.

I was so happy — I loved the school, the teachers and fellow students. My mother was also happy. She had to go to work and couldn’t help financially.

Clare and I started dating and graduated together in 1951. Before he left for Ames, Iowa to work for his Ph.D., we were married, moved there and had our first three children there. The other 10 were born in other states. Then we retired to Richmond, Va.

So, I often think about how happy my life is, and I thank Fr. Foley.

Unfortunately, Clare died, but he was such a kind person, father and husband. He is remembered.

I hope this money can help another student.

Sincerely grateful,

Mary Jane (Gillett) Gerow

10 Comments

  1. Craig

    You are the best, Mom. God could not have given us better parents even if he raised us Himself. God bless you and Dad. And I too hope someone is helped by your donation to such a great institution.

  2. Larry Gerow

    I have seen this love every day of my life. My dad told me he felt the same way about mom and whether or not they were classmates, he knew they were meant to be soulmates. My mother has been wanting to do this in Fr. Foley’s name for a long time. I love you mom and dad.

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